Justin Gaethje has been waiting in the wings for a shot at the Eagle ever since recording his third straight first-round KO. As expected, Khabib Nurmagomedov will instead be facing Tony Ferguson in April of 2020, and Gaethje’s other target, Conor McGregor will be facing the man Gaethje just defeated, Donald Cerrone, at UFC 246. So where does that leave Justin Gaethje in the lightweight picture?
“I’m the guy waiting for the title shot. I got the winner of the fight in April, as far as I’m concerned,’ Gaethje said on The Luke Thomas Show on Monday. “Three knockouts in a row? I’m not sure what else I need to do. If there’s someone else in the way, then I would happily go through them, but I don’t think there is.”
With Gaethje now having a lot of free time, he is willing to fill that time and also fill a spot should one open up in the scheduled Khabib/Ferguson lightweight title fight. He does have one reasonable condition that would need to be met first, though.
“I’m trying to maybe push myself to be ready for around that date just in case something happens, but it’s super hard for me to get up for a training camp, to get up for a fight when I don’t actually have an opponent, so I don’t know if that’s gonna happen.
“If they cover the cost of the training camp, I’m in. I need to get in shape anyways, so it couldn’t hurt.”
Naturally, facing the force that is Khabib Nurmagomedov would ideally carry with it proper notice and preparation. If Gaethje were to sacrifice some of that, he’d be willing to, lest he regret letting his one shot to fight Khabib before Khabib retires slip by.
“I wouldn’t be against it. Ultimately, I want to fight Khabib. I have to fight Khabib. If that’s how it goes down, I would be mad at myself if I’m not ready for it.”
What are your thoughts on Justin Gaethje’s comments on being a replacement option for Khabib/Ferguson?